Opposition Greece demands EU investigation into throwing migrants overboard

throwing migrants overboard

This article was last updated on June 18, 2024

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Opposition Greece demands EU investigation into throwing migrants overboard

There must be a major investigation into the Greek coast guard’s possible handcuffs and throwing overboard of migrants in the Mediterranean. The reason for the call from human rights organizations and Greek opposition parties is a documentary by the BBC.

In the documentary Dead Calm: Killing in the Med? which was broadcast yesterday, several migrants are interviewed who talk about what they have seen and experienced. Some of them say they are too abused.

The BBC also says that there are indications of pushbacks: towing boats back to the Turkish coast to prevent those on board from applying for asylum in Europe. Pushbacks are illegal under both European and international law.

Illegal activities

The Greek coast guard and the government deny all allegations. But a former coast guard executive appears to support the stories of the migrants and the BBC.

In an interview about the matter, the man is shown images of a pushback, and in a response to the video he remains silent. But immediately after the interview (the microphone is still on) he says in Greek to someone sitting next to him: “It’s clearly illegal. It’s an international crime.”

Greek coast guard returns refugees to the open sea

Human Rights Watch and the Greek Council for Refugees say the documentary confirms long-standing stories about the Greek coast guard.

“It is a particularly gruesome addition to the mounting and credible allegations against the Greek authorities,” a spokesperson for Human Rights Watch told the British broadcaster.

The Dutch lawyer Flip Schüller, who represents refugees in Greece, also says in the NOS Radio 1 Journaal that he recognizes the stories. He says the European Union is looking away. “I find that very shocking.”

Demanding answers

In any case, the documentary is sufficient reason for the opposition parties in Greece to once again ask critical questions of the government. He previously reacted very negatively to this. For example, the left-wing party Syriza was called anti-Greek and an agent of Turkish President Erdogan by the government.

Syriza’s Giorgos Psychogios also demands an EU investigation. The social democratic opposition party Pasok agrees.

It is not yet known whether that investigation will take place. The government reiterated that it stands firmly behind the coast guard, “which saves dozens of lives every day.” The Greek Ministry of Maritime Affairs announced yesterday that it would further investigate images from the documentary.

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